Chris Hoffman

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

Unlimited cellular data is tough to come by. Keep an eye on how much data you’re using to avoid paying overage fees or having your data speed throttled down to a trickle for the rest of your billing cycle.

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Transmission was long considered one of the best BitTorrent clients for Mac, but it’s recently seen back-to-back compromises of its servers. If you’re worried about Transmission’s security, here are some other great options.

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Data is data…except when it’s not. T-Mobile makes things a little confusing by giving you a certain amount of data, then offering unlimited music and video streaming that doesn’t count against the allowance–but only for certain services.

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Remember when uTorrent was great? The upstart BitTorrent client was super lightweight and trounced other popular BitTorrent clients. But that was long ago, before BitTorrent, Inc. bought uTorrent and crammed it full of crapware and scammy advertisements.

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Website addresses that end in “.onion” aren’t like normal domain names, and you can’t access them with a normal web browser. Addresses that end with “.onion” point to Tor hidden services on the “deep web”.

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If you ever wanted to make your web traffic seem like it was coming from a different browser–say, to trick a site that claims it’s incompatible with yours–you can. All popular browsers offer built-in user agent switchers, so you can change your user agent without installing any extensions.

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Microsoft’s Xbox One can now play a limited number of Xbox 360 games. But it’s not as simple as inserting any old disc and starting it up. Only some games will work, and the Xbox One runs them in an emulator.

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If you need to access an FTP server, you can install dedicated FTP clients with lots of features –but you don’t necessarily have to. Windows itself offers several ways for connecting to an FTP server, allowing you to download and upload files in a pinch.

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When you sign up for Insider Preview builds, Windows warns that you “may” need to reinstall Windows to get back to the stable version of Windows. But this is a worst case scenario, and there are other ways to get off the Insider Preview track.

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Connect speakers, headphones, a webcam with a built-in microphone, a Bluetooth headset, or another audio devices to your Windows PC and you’ll need to choose which devices Windows actually uses. This is easy to configure–and now even easier on Windows 10.

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Apple is working on a new file system known as the Apple File System. APFS will probably become the default file system on macOS and iOS in 2017, but it’s available as prerelease software on macOS Sierra.

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Did you know there’s a version of Windows 10 that doesn’t get big feature updates, and doesn’t even have the Windows Store or Microsoft Edge browser? It’s called Windows 10 LTSB, short for Long Term Servicing Branch.

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Windows 10’s Game DVR feature can slow your gaming performance by recording video in the background. If you don’t care about recording your gameplay, disable Game DVR for performance reasons.

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The Windows Search feature provides fast file searches by building an index. This index is used by the Start menu, the search box in File Explorer and Windows Explorer, and even the Cortana assistant on Windows 10.

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iOS 9 brought a useful new feature you may not have noticed yet. Known as “Facedown detection”, your iPhone can detect when it’s placed face down and won’t turn the screen on when notifications arrive. This can save a lot of battery power if you regularly receive notifications.

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You’ve seen it on plenty of PC help sites. “Uninstall fonts to speed up your computer!” Don’t follow this advice–it’s a myth. Uninstalling fonts is a troubleshooting tip for fixing a specific problem, not a general performance tip for speeding up your computer.

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Since Windows 10’s release and the privacy controversy that followed, many “anti-spying” apps have sprung up. They promise to keep Windows 10 from tracking you–but often, they can cause more problems than they solve.

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Official support for the ZFS file system is one of Ubuntu 16.04’s big features. It’s not installed and enabled by default, but it’s officially supported and offered in Ubuntu’s software repositories.

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Windows 10 includes a telemetry service that automatically sends diagnostic and usage data about your computer to Microsoft. These settings have caused a lot of controversy since Windows 10’s release, but what do they actually do?

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Windows 10 has a new “CompactOS” feature designed for PCs with a very small amount of storage, like tablets or laptops with only 16GB of space. It’s like full-disk NTFS compression, but smarter. Here’s how it works.

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If you have a Mac that’s always running low on space, macOS Sierra is a breath of fresh air. It includes a new tool that provides recommendations and helps free up space on your Mac.

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macOS has a feature called “Gatekeeper” designed to lock down your Mac, forcing it to only run Apple-approved software by default. But a Mac is locked down in the same way Android is locked down–you’re still free to run any application you want.

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Microsoft desperately wants you to use its Edge web browser and Bing search engine. In fact, Microsoft will literally pay you to use it. Microsoft pays in Amazon gift certificates, which are as good as cash if you’re a frequent Amazon shopper.

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Your Mac’s menu bar can start to look a lot like the Windows system tray after you install a few programs. Here’s how to declutter the menu bar and get those icons under control.

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Windows 10’s free upgrade offer is officially over. But, unofficially, free copies of Windows 10 are still available. There are quite a few ways you can still get Windows 10 for free, without using a pirated license.

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